Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Bogert van den, Antonie

Subject Headings

Aerospace Engineering, Engineering, Mechanical Engineering

Abstract

Currently there is a large interest in the use of more efficient means of propulsion in long term missions due to the costs and difficulties associated with placing and maintaining the needed fuel for conventional chemical systems in orbit. Mass reduction of upper stages will return large returns due to the great reduction in required lower stage fuel. Due to these factors, alternatives are undergoing active research, though this paper is concerned with the area of electrical propulsion. Electric propulsion is broadly defined as propulsion where the energization of the exhaust occurs via application of electromagnetic fields as opposed to chemical reactions or thermal processes. Frequently plasmas are involved in such processes, and as such, diagnostics related to establishing the characteristics of plasmas are of great value to the field, especially any techniques which do not disrupt the plasma in testing. This study focused on the use of non-intrusive optical techniques to measure electron temperature in the near field of a Hall thruster, a type of electric propulsion. Results indicate that the pursued technique may be of utility to providing a simple to set up and execute diagnostic for determining electron temperatures in the near field of a hall thruster. This will allow for less-expensive rapid turnaround on obtaining of experimental data to test or provide as input for models of plasma behavior, wear in electric propulsion, thruster design, and operation confirmation.

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